When I decided to break into magazine writing, I was ecstatic when my first pitch was accepted.  But, as I read the editor’s guidelines I noticed she mentioned a few things.  She said I would receive a masthead credit (Yay!) and a byline (Super!).  Oh, and I’d need to submit a bio with my article (Hmm?)

A bio — what would I say about myself?!  I didn’t have any published clips, this would be my first published article.  So, I was at a loss.  After the panic set in, I took a chill pill and began brainstorming.

The first thing I did was check out the magazine’s website to see how other writer bios looked.  At first, I noticed that most of the authors were not only credentialed, but they had a lot of information included in their bios.  I didn’t panic because I remember reading that the magazine was open to new writers (and “new” equaled me).  So, with a little persistence, I was able to find a couple of writer bios that included simple one-liners such as:

1. John Doe has written about men’s health issues for XY magazine.

2. Jane Doe is a NYC-based freelance writer.

I decided on a simple format and didn’t worry too much about my lack of abundant clips.  After all, every writer started without clips at one point, right? Right!  I found many similar bios on their website that were simple and super-short–so, I realized that there was definitely flexibility in the types of bios submitted based on the writer’s experience.

After I submitted my article and bio, I waited nervously to hear back about my lackluster bio.  Finally, an email came from the editor a few days later and she just basically thanked me for a great article, and she looked forward to getting more pitches from me–no mention about my simple bio, not a peep.

The moral of the story, when it comes to your bio: Don’t sweat the “short” stuff. Editors know you’re a new writer and aren’t expecting a bio packed with the names of top-notch glossies that you’ve written for.  The bottom line is not to become so absorbed with your bio and make sure that your article is great.

For those interested in learning about how you can build your clips as a new writer, check out my post “Clipless…For Now“.